Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's a trashy problem

July 24, 2010
7:21 AM

I read this morning where Wal-Mart plans to use "smart tags" on clothing. Privacy advocates aren't too fond of this idea. There's no way to turn the tag off, and the theory is the unscrupulous can track you by your jeans. While some of their concerns sound a wee bit far-fetched for 2010, I'm sure by 2015 they have the potential to be manifested. So here's my solution.

From now on, when I buy something from Wal-Mart, I will cut out the tags and put them in a little baggie. My next trip to Wal-Mart, I'll take the baggie with me and let Wal-Mart dispose of it. Let's call it recycling.

It's the principle of the thing, you understand.

On the other hand, tracking this fellow by his jeans wouldn't be a hardship for anyone I know.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My research tip of the week

July 22, 2010

I suppose most of my readers have figured out by now that I’m a bit of an American Muscle Car devotee. Nothing turns my head faster than the purr of a well-tuned V-8 except the sound of another well-tuned V-8. My first car was a 1969 Camaro, and let me go on record as saying it took Chevrolet another forty years to produce a new generation worthy of the Camaro nameplate.

Time and responsibilities have kept me from driving the muscle car of my choice, but the longing for one doesn’t dim. There is no practical sedan in my future, for my future retirement. No, my retirement gift to myself will be something hot and fast – but only if he has a muscle car. (Note to spouse – just kidding, dear.)

Bits and pieces of my life sneak into my writing. How can they not? My own experiences are the basis of what I know. So I’d like to impart a bit of car wisdom to you, to help you avoid one of the pitfalls that my character Noel Springs encounters in the upcoming book, Open Roads. (UPDATE - Open Roads is available at Amazon.)

My editor, and rightfully so, questioned me on the facts about anti-freeze. She didn’t know you shouldn’t mix the two types, which most people don’t if they haven’t had any problems with their automotive coolant. So in the interest of spreading the word, and hopefully saving you from a nasty surprise, here’s my story.

Listen well, grasshopper, and protect your wallet, and your ride.

Late in 2008, I took my vehicle in to one of those places that change the oil for about twenty bucks. They usually do a good enough job, and my spouse was laid-up with an injury, so I stopped on the way home from work one day. Everything was fine – until cold weather hit. I couldn’t get the heater to work. I stopped at the radiator shop, and the proprietor took a look. Then he gave me the bad news. Someone had mixed the pink organic anti-freeze in with the older style green I use. The result – gunk. Lots and lots of gunk. (Believe me when I say I instruct those places very carefully now.)

The whole cooling system was then flushed and refilled. A new heater core was installed. The mechanic told me he’d never been able to salvage one because the resulting goo was impossible to remove. What’s a girl to do? I wrote the check- $184.00.

A few months ago, the spousal unit noted the anti-freeze was a very peculiar color, and not green, probably due to residual corrosion. I took my vehicle back for another flush and fill, and wrote the check for $80.00.

The east coast is in the middle of an historic heat wave. It’s not surprising cars are overheating along the road. Last week, I got a whiff of anti-freeze when I parked my ride. I checked, and sure enough, there was a small spot growing on the pavement. Not good. So now I have a new radiator – to the tune of $285.34 - as a direct result of having the two types of anti-freeze mixed and the chemical reaction and corrosion it caused. At least I was able to keep driving it for a few days, and didn’t end up walking.

So that’s my $548.34 story on the research for in Open Roads, and my tip of week. Know what's in your radiator, and be sure to tell anyone who might top off the coolant reservoir what to use - and what NOT to use.

Do you think I can deduct that as a research expense on my taxes? No, I don’t think so, either.


Open Roads is available at AmazoniTunesBarnes & NobleKobo and other online book sellers.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Excerpt up! Open Roads

July 19, 2010

Summer in the Mid-Atlantic region weeds the weak from the strong. If the heat doesn't do you in, the mosquitoes will. It's hot. I won’t even mention it’s tick season except to say be aware of the little bloodsuckers.

I'm a country girl, but even I'm holed up inside with the air conditioning. I didn't used to be this wimpy, but then I used to be younger, too. I feel for all the guys, and gals, who work construction out in this heat.

Quite happily on the writing front, I got the first round edits on Open Roads last night. I haven't actually gone through the document yet, but I did check out the passages I want to use for on my website and get the intro and excerpt posted.

Open Roads is the second story set in the fictional town of Marionville. You can check out the excerpt at

Stay cool!


UPDATE - Open Roads is available at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and other online booksellers. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Night Train to Naples by Carolina Valdez

July 14, 2010

When the PAX group at Amber Allure firmed up the "That's Amore" offering, I knew I'd have to get it, and I knew Carolina's story, "Night Train to Naples" would be the first one I read. Show me a title that says a night train to anywhere, and I'm there. Maybe it was all those black and white movies I saw as a girl, although I don't think I ever glimpsed anyone that looked like Alex.

Just remember that between now and July 17, 2010, you can get this PAX at the unheard of price of $14 and change. Seriously! The new release discount will be in effect until Saturday.

Here's what Carolina said when I asked her what were the first words Alex said to her. I love it when a character speaks so clearly to the author.

My title--NIGHT TRAIN TO NAPLES--came to me first. But who would be traveling at night, and why? Alexandros Nicolaides appeared to me, saying, "I am Greek and a diamond courier. I'm big, blond and powerful, and my beauty is the transcendental beauty of an immortal. Yes, I am Vampire. And I am gay."

About Night Train to Naples:
After seven-hundred years, Alexandros Nicolaides has adjusted to life as an immortal. Employed by a New Orleans diamond courier, the gemologist travels to Italy in the hope of gaining a new customer for that business. On the night train to Naples, he confirms what he’s suspected—someone is following him.

Human Dante Rocco has his reasons for tailing the tall blond. Unaware he follows an immortal, he’s in for a bad shock. When Alex rescues him from thugs and evil, a hot, urgent sexual bond flares between these two rivals for the courier account. As they struggle with the reality of their relationship, they discover they’re now the ones being pursued—by an unstable, vengeful vampire.

Buy link:
PAX buy link:


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fall Into the Night by P.A. Brown

Due to Amber Quill's closing, this book is no longer available.

July 6, 2010

When the idea came to me to invite a few other authors I know to strut their stuff on Between the Keys, I knew it would be a great way to get to know some of them much better. P.A. Brown – Pat – and I share a publisher, but our paths don’t cross much. So when she had a new release on July 3rd, I knew it was my chance to send an email and the invitation to share what the first words her character Terik u Selhdun from Fall Into the Night said to her.

Being a writer, I like to read, and I’m slowly working my way through everyone at Amber Quill. I say ‘slowly’ because 1) I spend my time writing, and 2) I can’t read someone else’s work while I’m actively involved in one of my own stories. During a break earlier this year, I read Pat’s book, Lynx Woods, and enjoyed it very much. I confess I don’t have the new one yet, but it’s only been out three days!

Speaking of, if you want Pat's new book, get over to Amber Allure before July 10, 2010, and get it at a thirty-five percent (35%) discount. It’s a good deal. Here's what author P.A. Brown had to say when asked, "What were the first words Terik u Selhdun said to you?"

And Pat - you go girl. Some rules need to be abandoned, and that's one of them!

The first thing my nihilistic character Terik u Selhdun said to me was "So the old fool finally decided to die. I'd say it's about time, but it's really 50 years too late." and he was talking about his father. Right away I had this image of a jaded, bitter man who never had the love of his father, the powerful head of a family that ruled their planet with an iron fist. The line was so powerful to me I used a variation of it as the opening sentence in my novel, Fall Into the Night, even though I've been told more than once not to start a novel with dialog. But I guess I'm enough like Selhdun that I don't listen to what other people say.

The death of his father catapults Terik u Selhdun into the position of Ogema of Tiamat, the planet of his birth. It was a position he rejected years before when he and his autocratic father clashed over Selhdun's homosexuality. Instead, Selhdun became a linked pilot and owner of his own ship, the Necromancer. Linked pilots are the only ones who can take a ship through Jump, a form of hypserspace travel that allows the empire of man, known as the Autarch, to thrive.

War drove the humans off their home world of Terra (Earth). In the subsequent years, the coordinates of the Terran Jumpoint were lost. When they eventually resurface, Selhdun and the Necromancer are hired to transport a group of scientists back to Terra in order to ascertain whether humans can safely return to the planet of their origin.

But numerous forces in and out of government don't want Selhdun to succeed. Troubles plague the expedition, including an assassination attempt and brutal enemies hell-bent on stopping Selhdun and the ship, even as he and his crew make strides in their mission. Yet in Terran space, a new lethal menace awaits, and soon everyone on board the Necromancer discovers the battle to stay alive has only just begun...

Pat Brown
The vacation from hell -- Forest of Corpses

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Who gets paid for doing the work?

July 3, 2010
**Amber Quill Press is now closed**

I subscribe to a few Google alerts and am constantly amazed at the facts that come my way. The name of this blog, Between the Keys, has made me a pseudo-expert on Alicia Keys, whoever she is. It's actually fun to see where some of the links take me. Usually.

This morning, a new alert for Seducing Light popped up in my mailbox, so of course, I clicked. It turns out, it's just a Joyfully Reviewed copy of an old review, posted on blogger to generate a click through to the Seducing Light buy page at Amazon.

Say..what? A review site generating money for itself off my book? Maybe. Anyone could have copied that review and posted it on blogger to get the click-through kick-back. I do wonder.

I do wonder what my publisher is going to say.

I do know what I am going to say to my publisher.

Attempting to keep my perspective, it IS a good review of Seducing Light, which is a good book, if I do say so myself. It's my second favorite right after Tango in the Night. Joyfully Reviewed gave it high praise, and this reposted review goes so far as to give it a 5 out of 5 ranking.

So here's the thing. If you'd like to own a copy of Seducing Light, why not purchase it from the person who worked to get the book ready for sale? 

It's time to pay the people who work, not work the system.

Life through the eyes of Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Amber Allure June 2010 Top Ten Best Sellers

The Top Ten Best Seller list for June, 2010, at Amber Allure has just been released, and is posted at the Amber Allure website. Congratulations to all!

AMBER ALLURE / June 2010

1. Bastet - T. A. Chase (Gay / Shapeshifter)
2. Double Shot Cappuccino - Stephani Hecht (Gay / Contemporary)
3. His One And Only - Shawn Lane (Gay / Contemporary)
4. Martin And The Wolf - Anne Brooke (Gay / Werewolf)
5. The House Of Driscoll, Book I - A. J. Llewellyn & D. J. Manly (Gay / Vampire)
6. The Alpha's Pet - Louisa Gough (Gay / Werewolf)
7. Blood Oath - Keta Diablo (Gay / Vampire)
8. Everybody Wants Somebody - Shara Bloodstone (Gay / Contemporary)
9. A King's Ransom - Aislinn Kerry (Gay / Fantasy / Pirate)
10. (Boys Of The Zodiac) Gemini: The Wicked Things - Pepper Espinoza (Gay / Fantasy)